October 11


The DOs and DON’Ts of Fibromyalgia

By Sue Ingebretson

October 11, 2011

breathing, Fitness, health ips, laughter, Nutrition, sleep, stress-relief

The DOs and DON’Ts of Fibromyalgia

When it comes to explaining the INs the OUTs, and the UPs and DOWNs of fibromyalgia, it’s impossible to ignore the DOs and DON’Ts.

Fibromyalgia is maddeningly unpredictable. We may feel full of spit and vinegar one day and full of something else entirely the next. So … I like to keep things simple. Here are a few ways to help mitigate symptom flares and to make your days a bit more predictable.


Pay attention to what you eat. Whole, natural, fiber-rich, nutrient-dense foods do make a difference! By making your health a priority, you can begin to rebuild your body from the inside out with whole, healthy foods.

Move every single day. Whether you run a marathon or just walk to the mailbox, get out and do some form of physical activity every day. Increased pain is the result of stiff and unused muscles. Gentle and consistent movement provides great benefits such as pain relief, stress relief, improved mood, and improved mental clarity.

Deal with the stress level in your life. While we can’t eliminate stress, we can choose how we’ll deal with it. Make dealing with it a priority. Participate daily in some or all of these healing practices: prayer, meditation, fitness, deep breathing, laughter, yoga, tai chi, walking, guided imagery, gratitude projects, a positive focus, getting a good night’s sleep, etc.



Do too much when you feel good. Pacing is the name of the game. Learn to stop before you crash. This is a learned procedure and only comes by experience. Pay attention to how you feel and learn to anticipate the feeling of doing too much.

Sabotage yourself with poor nutritional choices. The fastest way to feel poorly is to eat poorly. Fake foods provide fake and short-term love. Real foods provide lasting and health-supporting love.

Ignore work issues or relationships that keep you frustrated. Sometimes little things can create big problems. If there’s a job-related issue that has your stomach in a knot, do your best to resolve it rather than ignore it. If you have a relationship that takes more from you than it gives, consider making a change. Tackle your stresses one by one and see the difference you can make.

Implement these tips into your daily routines and let me know your favorites! What works for you?

  1. Hi Sue ~ Excellent short list to help people make the best choices for their health. Keeping it simple with just three do’s and three don’ts gives a broad view on the issues, with each person placing a choice and value on the personal items.

    Recognizing that food plays an important part in repairing tissues and cells while also nourishing the soul. That’s right – Soul Food! Acknowledging that we are mobile beings that need to keep active to move the food through the system and get the nourishment to all the parts. And, finally noticing when stressful situations and events prevent us from moving forward with joy and ease.



  2. Super list!
    It is everyone’s responsibility to find what works for our bodies. Food is a huge issue that we tend to ignore.

  3. You’re so right, Darleen and I know that comes from personal experience, right? It’s SO worth it to find out what works!

  4. Good simple list of do’s and don’ts! The food thing is tough tho, most of us feel too crappy to bother cooking decent meals and reach for those convenience meals a little too frequently. I know I’m guilty of it for sure! Need to get myself on some fruit every day and raw veggies, whole grains, etc. You don’t have to cook necessarily to eat well. I’ve also heard things about greek yogurt for fibromites…I know I’ve felt better when I ate some every day, don’t know why!

    1. Karen — but you DO know why! Food is simply fuel — and when we fuel up on what our bodies are looking for, we feel better and begin go heal. It’s as simple as that! Fuel up well today and start on the road to healing!

  5. I also love the short, but memorable and practical list! And I have added vitamins! I just visited a pain management clinic to start FM treatment. I am on a new eating plan, physical therapy and Flinstones Complete Gummies! =) 2 per day to get my iron levels up. I suggest blood work to make sure all levels are right because low levels of things can drag you down too!

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Stefanie. I’m so glad you’re working toward improving your health and feeling better!

  6. I have had Fibromyalgia just over 3 years. The pain is more than I can take sometimes. The thought of living with this for the rest of my life is just about all I can take. I’m 54 and, though I’m not young……..I believe I still have a few more years left on this earth. I’ve read up on the Do’s & Dont’s of Fibromyalgia. I sure have a lot to learn about this disease. I have a terrible diet & exercise program, that’s for sure. The pain is so bad sometimes…..I can’t even think about taking the time to fix a good meal, and I guess that’s the main reason for the pain. It sure was an eye opener….that’s for sure. Anyone has any ideas about what to eat. Also the worst foods to eat. I would appreciate it. Well nice to know to know this web site is kinda like a support grip.



    1. Linda — first of all, you’re VERY young! You have a full life ahead of you and there’s no reason it should be miserable or full of pain. Yes, nutrition has a GREAT impact on how you feel. Eating foods that are whole and nutrient-dense is a great way to start. Try to eat fewer processed and packaged foods. Fresh veggies are very easy to fix, as are salads, etc. I do know that moving is also very hard when you’re in pain, but moving every single day is SO important! Even if it’s just walking around your living room, make it a habit to get up and move as often as you can. Take baby steps to allow yourself time to heal and be patient with yourself. I’ve got nearly a hundred posts here to read through and I’ve also written quite a bit about turning your life around in my book, FibroWHYalgia. I’m here to answer any questions you may have — and yes, it is somewhat like a support group. You can also find news and articles that I post about health and healing here: http://www.Facebook.com/FibroWHYalgia/. Let me know how you’re doing!

    1. I’m getting ready to see oncologist/gycologist for a hysterectomy. I’m worried about my fibro and the surgery together. How do prepare for both Recovery’s?

      1. Tammy – that’s a great question. Surgery is very traumatic to the body (any kind of surgery) and it’s good to think ahead and plan for making it as smooth of a transition as possible. Because I’m not a doctor, I can’t give specific medical advice. But, here’s what I’d do — I’d do what I could to make sure that I eat as “clean” as possible both before and after surgery. I’d get my body moving after surgery as soon as I’d be able, to help to move the anesthesia medications out of my body. I’d also plan to make my self-care practices an absolute priority after surgery. I’d be careful to eat well, drink plenty of water, and practice healing techniques such as deep breathing (being careful of your surgical site, of course), prayer, meditation, EFT Tapping, etc.

        When you PLAN for an easy transition after surgery, and expect it to be so, you can really help to see it to fruition. Of course, accepting the fact that you’ll need help afterward is important, too. Assign different people (as you have available) to take care of specific tasks after surgery so you can take care of your #1 job — healing. I pray it all goes well!

  7. Since eliminating red meat & chicken (no idea if chicken is considered red meat, I wouldn’t think so, but I digress) I haven’t had an stomach issues! Besides fibro, I have half my intestines due to being two months premature. I’ve been able to exercise more and pretty much feel so much better than I have in quite some time! I wish someone had suggested vegetarianism to me earlier!

    1. Jesikah — I’m so glad you’re finding relief! Diets that contain a lot of animal proteins can be very hard to digest and very acidic to the body. Beans and nuts can also be hard to digest. Finding nutritional balance – plenty of leafy veggies, some proteins, and some healthy fats — will go a long way toward healing and bringing the body back to a state of health. And, by the way, chicken isn’t read meat, but it’s meat all the same 😉 I wrote another blog post on proteins that you might want to check out!

  8. Thank you for this really helpful article. I am 36 and have had a Fibromyalgia diagnosis for one year. I totally agree with your points on moving and food. I think it’s so important to remember that moving doesn’t always have to be going to the gym – it can be climbing a flight of stairs at work too! I have found that if you change your expectation of what exercise is it can help. My amazing physio even told me that walking round the shopping mall was exercise – I was delighted!:)
    I think the hardest thing for me has been the stress and relationships part of your list. Sometimes people who are trying to help you are actually stressing you. This is quite hard to recognise and ultimately deal with.
    Hope this comment isn’t too long! Thanks for a great article.

    1. Sara — thanks so much for your observations and insights! You’re so right about exercise. I have clients who say they just can’t “get into” exercise, yet when they tell me that now that they’re feeling better, they’re gardening more, riding bikes, dancing to great tunes while they clean the house, etc. — I let them know that they ARE exercising! And, there’s also a lot to be said for choosing your friends and family. We can always choose who we spend most of our time with, but we can choose how we let them make us feel. That’s a tough one to work out though, isn’t it! Thanks again for giving us your two cent’s worth!

    2. The best relief I have found aside from cairetn medications excercise and massages. I have also found a wonderful new thing called floating. Its a capsule that has tons of salt in it and about 10 inches of water and you float. Like you would in the Dead Sea. I came out of the floating session feeling like a new person, I kid you not!

  9. It is great to hear everyone’s experiences. There are 4 things that have helped me: finding an understanding doctor, finding the right medication, taking vitamin D, and eatting LOTS of veggies. Especially green leafy vegetables.
    A few months ago I saw a TedEx lecture by Dr Terry Wahls that was a real eye opener. She was able to recover from MS by increasing her vegetable intake. Her whole premise is that we need to eat a nutrient rich diet so that our bodies can repair theselves. I’ll post the link for your viewing pleasure:)

    ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc)

  10. I agree that paying attention to what you eat is a huge component to being healthy. Whole, natural, fiber-rich, nutrient-dense foods do make a difference! One of the major things is to find a way to lower inflammation in the body using a href=”http://yournaturalpainrelief.com/finally-a-natural-treatment-for-fibromyalgia/”>natural treatment for fibromyalgia and there are many out there from juices, green supplements, homeopathics – to mention but a few. Doctors are realizing that inflammation is the root cause of most disease. You need to do good, healthy eating , some great supplements and some light exercise to assist you on your journey to wellness.

  11. I’m 19. I am 19 years old, a sophomore in college, and used to be a straight A student with an awesome social life. Now I find it hard to even leave my dorm on some days, sometimes for weeks at a time. Having a hard time accepting the fact that my dreams may be screwed.

    1. Darien – I’m sorry to hear that you’re having some current difficulties. I’m assuming you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Are you aware of the many activities and treatments that you can try? While your future may seem frustrating right now, consider your current health challenge as a speed bump rather than a road block. Please email me if you have specific questions – http://www.RebuildingWellness.com.

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson